Hello June, where is summer?!

Currently docked at Copenhagen with another turnaround. Yep, that’s pretty much what the whole itinerary is going to be like for Baltic season.

Copenhagen – Oslo – Sea day – Warnemunde – Sea day – Talinn – St. Petersburg – St. Petersburg – Helsinki – Stockholm – Sea day – Copenhagen

Eat.Rest.Repeat. I’m currently having a good time enjoying the beauty of Scandinavia but it is still too cold. 11 degrees in June?! I want to wear dresses and not be in pants all the time 😧

Anyway I’m beginning to feel a little jaded. Can’t wait to have proper Malaysian food or at least some spicy Asian food (*hint Tomyam!) when I get back. I know it’s ungrateful for me to feel this way but hey, we’re only human. I don’t particularly miss going back to the humidity and the heat but there are some things which I miss like lazy weekends and catching up with family and friends. There’s just so much you can do onboard. 

Still, I’m having lots of fun. Can’t wait to be home but also still have lots to explore.

Til then, signing off!

#Shiplife Series: 1.5 months onboard & Drydock

We’re docked now in Hamburg & I’m currently on standby as a keyrunner for the contractors. Overall the boutiques have a rather relaxing schedule during this period of 10 days but hey, weather is pretty harsh with a temperature of 6 degrees Celsius.

Life onboard has been pretty amazing. Crazy, fast and furious. Work hard, play hard. That’s what it is. There rules on the ship – the official & non official ones, some which are hard to elaborate and understand unless you’ve been there.

The amazing part is, I’ve travelled to around 10 different countries in just a month. I’ve done some stuff I’ll never do. Snorkeling with sea turtles in U.S. Virgin Islands. Kayaking across the Carribean sea. Dancing under the stars. Challenging my comfort zone. Challenging my potential. And honestly the world never failed to amaze me. So different yet so alike.

I’m still expanding my horizons. And I’m so blessed especially to be able to travel to Europe. Crazy, crazy, crazy. I still have 4 months after drydock, I’m pretty sure that will be amazing as well.

#Shiplife Series – Prologue: Documentations.

In my previous post I mentioned that I had yet to undergo my medical check. Finally it was done and I have all the required documents ready! To sum things up what I needed to submit was:

  1. An ENG1 medical certificate (for seafarers)
  2. A US C1/D crew visa
  3. A certificate of good conduct issued by the Malaysian government

After about a month I finally managed to complete everything, would have been sooner if I could manage to get myself an earlier interview slot at the U.S. embassy but nope.

Pretty psyched now and can’t wait to receive a ship assignment! Will definitely split the whole application process into different blog and vlog entries so watch this space! Your girl is going to the sea!

Thoughts on being single

Are we all afraid to be alone?

Lately there has been many friends on Facebook who have gotten married, which I am happy for. It is definitely not an easy journey, from finding someone you like to be with 24/7 and deciding to accept them for who they are. The lifelong commitment stuff. Right now my body and mind seems to shudder at the very thought of marriage. I’ve been through a number of boyfriends and maybe it’s just me but forever just seems a little too long.

“You don’t know love”, they might say. “You just haven’t found the right person”, others might add. Both might be true but I’ll just say that I’m pretty much happy where I am right now. Single, alone and…free.

There have also been friends who have fallen out of relationships. Friends breaking up with their partners. Married couples getting divorced. This scares me as well. The fragility of a relationship and how thin the line that separates being together and being not, is.

I just really want to make a point that if you’re in a loving relationship, great. If you’re not, it’s not the end world either. Don’t worry about not being able to find someone, you will. There is just no expiration date to meeting people and falling in love so why get so worked up about being alone when you have so much you can do? Read the books you always wanted. Watch all the movies you want. Start on the hobbies you’ve always said you wish you tried.

There is really no harm in being alone. Instead of constantly looking for someone to love you, go love yourself first. Enjoy your moments of solitude. Live. Don’t just exist.

Waiting & Wanting

For those of you who follow me on social media (Instagram: reenkhaw), you might have heard that I was in the process of getting my letter of good conduct from the consular. Just checked the status today and it’s ready for collection! How eerily efficient is that? So yes, one document down.

I haven’t shared it publicly the reason why I needed it for because I didn’t want to count my chickens before they are hatched if you know what I mean. I’ve told my family and close friends about it which like 90% reacted in surprised horror.

The current pending issue I need to complete is to get my U.S. visa and medical done. I’ve paid for the visa earlier today and to my utmost terror the next available interview appointment slot is on 29 November 2016.

Another full month of waiting.

God & Religion

Do you believe in God?

I have a pretty laid-back opinion when it comes to religion. People often ask what religion I belong to and at most times, I’ll say that I pray to what my parents pray to.
Of which is the truth.
My parents are Taoist-Buddhist and sometimes offer prayers to the Hindu Gods as well. Growing up, religion for me is a “to-do” because the adults asked us to. As I grow older and especially after moving away from home, religion doesn’t seem to matter to me as long as I always do good.

I wouldn’t say that I don’t believe in God, I do. There is definitely a higher power bigger than all of us and at times I find myself believing the phrase, “The rest is up to God.” Well God could also mean the Universe and the energies that come with it but yeah, you get the idea.

So yes, I do believe in God but I don’t believe in certain ideologies of religion. Right now I always mark the Buddhist column when it comes to filling forms – out of convenience’s sake. Should I start marking some other boxes now?

28

So I just celebrated my 28th birthday.

I’ve lived for 28 years.

But what is living actually? What kind of life?

My family isn’t rich and I was brought up in typical Malaysian fashion, education first and other things second. I studied in a mainstream school and later on went to private university, mainly because my grades weren’t “good enough” for the public tertiary system. I can say for sure that when I was growing up, I wasn’t a very driven individual. I have no goals and no dreams of becoming someone. Nothing inspires me and at most, I was a “kinda” person. Most of the time, I got pretty okay grades because fortunately enough, I am pretty smart (or so I think). I sailed through my whole schooling life pretty much that way. I started taking school a little more seriously in Form 6. I started being really into school when I entered uni.

I think that being in a working class family, my parents’ didn’t have time or energy to focus on our education and inspire us to dream big. My siblings and I were more or less raised by our grandmothers and left to our own devices after school. So that could be a reason for my disinterest and lack of drive.

It just sort of feels weird to me right now that at that point of time, the future never really seem to bother me. I did remember that I wanted to enroll in Limkokwing University (prestigious design uni in Malaysia) when I finished my Form 5 but my mum said “No money, just go to Form 6”. I didn’t even try to find out what other options I have.

So all that aside, I wanted to study in the city. I did receive some protests from family but a real big part of me really wanted to go out and “see the world”. You know, the whole grow up thing and you’ll never get a chance to do it once you don’t do it sort of idea. My dad supported me financially while I took an education loan from the government and finished my degree. Fast forward to now, I’ve been bouncing back and forth getting job experiences and pretty much liking what I do.

Now is that living?

I’ve done the typical Asian “life path” plan thingie. Study, graduate from university, get a good job. Next in line would be to get into a relationship, buy a house and get married. I wouldn’t be able to afford a house in my current situation. “But you can always find someone and share the house between the two of you”. I’ve been in a few relationships and let’s just say, I’m pretty contented with being single right now. Relationships seem to get more complicated as you grow and at times, being without one means having less drama to deal with. I’ll just have a glass of wine and go to sleep with my “imaginary boyfriend” pillow, haha. So nope. Not sure if parents will be disappointed but I think they understand.

Living – in my context is living your life in the path of your goals and dreams. You may not have achieved your dreams but you are driving yourself towards it. We can all have numerous dreams and waking up everyday knowing you are doing something to make it happen is living.

I have dreams now, plenty in fact.  I want to travel to places. Try different food. See different views and faces. Move out of the country. Spend more time with family. Have a house with a garden. See the northern lights. Eat crabs in Alaska. Dabble in new hobbies. Learn diving. Learn new languages. So many things that many people have done but so many have not.

I want to live.

365 Days of Gratitude: Day 2 – The Immigration Officers

365 Days of Gratitude: Day 2. I had 3 weeks left until my holiday & with the passport shortage scare in the country meant that I have to wake up early. Started queuing at 7am yesterday and made two friends with the guys in the line front and back of me. The officers started working very quickly once the office opened at 8.30 a.m and I managed to get my passport renewed by 12.15 noon. Mind you, I was number 115. Thank you for trying hard to take as little as our time possible, for having a special queue for the elderly, for being courteous and patient. While waiting, I managed to re-read some chapters of one amazing book, meet new people and had a decent breakfast with coffee! #throwback #365daysofgratitude #blessed #countyourblessings #richardcarlson #dontsweatthesmallstuff #immigrationmalaysia

A post shared by Reen Khaw (@reenkhaw) on

365 Days of Gratitude: Day 1

*Had this inspiration to start a 365 day journey of gratitude where I try to look at things from a better and higher perspective in life. This first post was taken from my Twitter account after watching our national badminton player’s match during the Olympics*

We will never be able to comprehend the amount of sacrifice made on your part, from missing out important moments with family & friends, the pain and struggle of training and injuries, the huge amounts of stress and expectations being put on your shoulders. Winning might just mean an extra medal, a little bit of glory and maybe a day of holiday for some but I think it is amazing that you are able to do that on a day to day basis without giving up. For me, that’s the true spirit of a hero and a sportsman.

Thank you, sportsmen and sportswomen of Malaysia.